River Oaks District — Houston’s posh new shopping enclave — has been sold in a colossal deal less than a year after it opened. The price is more than worthy of some of the ultra high-end stores that anchor the outdoor shopping mall — more than $550 million.
JP Morgan Asset Management is the deep-pocked buyer. With the private bank holding more than $2.4 trillion dollars in assets — and boasting a client list packed with billionaires and upper millionaires — River Oaks District will fit right into its portfolio. OliverMcMillan, the San Diego-based developer of River Oaks District, will continue to manage the property and still hold an ownership share of the shopping center after the sale, a real estate source tells PaperCity.
In fact, the day-to-day operations of the district may not change all that much. Brand-new attention-grabbing signage was put up all around River Oaks District, including eye-catching red signs on Westheimer, just days ago. Whether this timing is the sign of a bold new partnership or just coincidence remains to be seen.
River Oaks District officials did not return calls for comment. The Houston Chronicle first reported the details of the sale.
OliverMcMillan and its backers spent more than $600 million to build River Oaks District and have debt involved with the project — including a $150 million loan from Bank of America. The massive infusion of cash should solidify the luxury shopping destination’s future in an unsure oil market.
The sale comes as the 14-acre district gains more and more foot traffic with the opening of more of its restaurants. Cult Austin burger chain Hopdoddy regularly draws lines out of its doors, going as far as setting up umbrella shading to attempt to shield its loyal line waiters from the hot Houston sun. French/Vietnamese cafe Le Colonial and Phoenix-import Steak 48 will soon follow.
A high-end boutique-style hotel from a well-known hospitality brand is expected to join the project in the not-so-distant future (an announcement on these plans should be made within the next year).
And the ultra high-end anchor stores such as Hermès and Cartier continue to draw their exclusive clientele with perks like VIP parking. River Oaks District’s on-site mid-rise, The Grey House, has also been welcoming more and more residents.
Now, the luxury shopping center is welcoming an infusion of cash. Monster cash.